How To Make A Dopero Kite
Step-by-Step - The MBK 1-Skewer Dopero
This set of instructions on how to make a Dopero kite assumes you know absolutely nothing about kite making.
You might already have some of the simple tools and materials
required. Anything you don't have is easily bought. If not exactly what I
used, then at least something pretty similar!
These instructions on how to make a Dopero kite might look a bit
long, but each step is quite simple to do. Just steadily work your
way through from top to bottom, skimming over any detail that you don't
At 29cm (11 1/2") wide, the MBK 1-Skewer Dopero Kite is a rather small kite, with tip dihedral and a 4-leg bridle. If you spend some time tweaking the bridle knots, you can get this tiny design to fly over quite a decent range of wind speeds!
1-Skewer kites are fun, but somewhat toy-like :-) due to their rather small size. Fancy something much bigger to fly, suitable for teenagers and adults?
Have a look at the e-book up there on the right. So you can work from nicely-formatted printouts or direct from the screen on your laptop or other device while offline.
How To Make A Dopero Kite - Sail
Now's the time to read up on the 'tools' and materials required for making a Skewer kite, if you haven't already.
The template shown above represents one side of the kite sail. You will now transfer these measurements to the sail plastic as follows...
- Firstly, take a light plastic bag that will fit the entire Template shape within one side, and lay it flat on the floor.
- Mark dots on the plastic, corresponding to the corners of the
Template. There is no need to use a T-square, since any small error will
be duplicated on the other side of the sail.
- Using the marking pen, rule lines between the dots, as in the photo.
- Flip the plastic bag over, and trace over all the black lines using your marker pen and ruler.
- Cut out a rectangular section of the bag containing the kite sail,
open it out and lay it flat on the floor - you can now see the complete sail outline, as in the photo.
- Cut along the black lines with scissors, to create the sail.
How To Make A Dopero Kite - Spars
For this Dopero, you need four 30cm (12") bamboo BBQ skewers for the spars. The photo shows all the spars laid over the sail, before being snipped to length with scissors.
- Lay down 2 skewers vertically over the plastic, lined up as in the
photo. Snip the bottom end of each skewer to length, so they line up
with the bottom edge of the lower sail. These are the vertical spars.
- Lay down another skewer across the left and right corners of the upper
sail, and snip to length, removing the point. Also make an easily-seen
mark on the skewer, at each point where it crosses a vertical spar. This
is the upper horizontal spar.
- Using a sharp corner, perhaps a blade of the scissors, make an indent in the bamboo, at the crossing-points you marked.
- Do those last 2 steps again, over the widest part of the lower sail, to create the lower horizontal spar.
How To Make A Dopero Kite - Attaching Sail
- Lay down the vertical spars over the sail, and wrap a short
length of clear sticky tape around each tip, securing them to the top
corners of the upper sail and the bottom corners of the lower sail. The top photo shows the top tip in close-up.
- Lay down the upper horizontal spar skewer and attach its tips to the upper left and right corners of the sail, in the same way.
- Lay down the lower horizontal spar skewer and attach its tips to the left and right corners of the lower sail.
- Fold down the flaps over the lower horizontal spar, and secure with short strips of tape on each side. In the middle photo, I have drawn yellow rectangles to show where the tape goes.
- Bend the upper horizontal spar at an indent, until it starts to crack!
Carefully increase the bend until the wing-tip stays at 0.08SL (2.3cm,
1") off the table top. Do the same for the other indent as well.
- Do exactly the same for the lower horizontal spar, cracking the bamboo at both indents.
- Dribble some wood glue all around where the skewers cross each other, for both horizontal spars. See the bottom photo. Use enough glue to make the bent part of the bamboo strong.
Be careful that the horizontal spars don't slip up or down the vertical spar while the glue is still wet.
How To Make A Dopero Kite - Sail Tethers
- Cut off a piece of flying line of length 0.75SL (22cm, 8"). Tape one
end to a corner of the upper sail, as in the photo. See how the tape
points to the tip of the lower horizontal spar. Excess tape can be
trimmed with scissors or folded back on itself.
- Pass the other end of the line around the tip of the lower
horizontal spar. Pull most of the slack out and tie off with a couple of
Half Hitch knots. Using the Half Hitch makes them easy to unpick and re-tie later, if any adjustment is needed to make the kite fly straight.
- Repeat the previous steps on the other side of the kite.
- Snip off some of the excess line if you want to, but leave enough for adjustment purposes.
The kite should now look like the photo.
How To Make A Dopero Kite - Keels
- Mark out a keel shape on some spare plastic, as per the dimensions
on the template. For all the steps below, refer to the above photo if
anything is unclear. A keel in black garbage bag plastic looks good with
a lighter colored sail! If you lay black plastic against a window on a
sunny day, even black marker lines show up easily, I've found. Rule the
lines with the plastic flat against the window glass. You can also hold
the plastic up to the light while cutting along the lines with scissors.
- Cut out the keel and tape down 2 lengths of flying line onto one
side, using clear sticky tape. One goes from the bridle attachment point
to the upper attachment point, and the other goes from the bridle
attachment point to the lower attachment point. The pieces of line
hanging free should be at least as long as your finger.
- Now flip the plastic over and tape down another 2 lengths of flying line, directly over the first 2.
- Where 2 pieces of line come together, tie a Multi-Strand Simple Knot close to the plastic. These 2 knots will sit against a vertical spar.
- Where the 4 pieces of line come together, tie them into another
Multi-Strand Simple Knot close to the plastic, then tie another one
further out. The photo on the right shows all the knots.
All done? Now do it all again to make the other keel!
How To Make A Dopero Kite - Attach The Bridle
- Lay the kite down with the keels on top, then cut off a length of flying line about 2 skewers long
- Tie a small Loop Knot into each end.
- Poke holes in the upper sail, and hence attach the line to the vertical spars as indicated in the top photo. Use a Double Wrap Slip Knot in each case. This is the upper bridle loop.
- Now make another bridle loop line. Again, about 2 skewer lengths
long, with a Loop Knot in each end. Make these Loop Knots much bigger,
- Now attach each end of this line to a keel, using a Larks Head knot. This is the lower bridle loop. See the middle photo.
- Take another length of flying line about 2 skewers long, and attach one end to the middle of the upper bridle loop and the other end to the middle of the lower bridle loop, using a Prusik Knot at each end. Let's call this the bridle line.
- Now take a length of flying line about 1 skewer long, and tie one end to the bridle line with a Prusik Knot. Tie a small Loop Knot into the other end. There's the whole bridle, in the bottom photo.
- Secure every knot on the vertical spars with a tiny blob of wood glue. 6 in all!
How To Make A Dopero Kite - Tail
- Cut out a long thin rectangle of colored plastic for the tail. Mine
is black, to contrast with the orange sail. Make it 10.0SL (290cm, 115")
long and 0.2SL (5.8cm, 2 1/4") wide. Knot pieces together if necessary,
to get the full length. Avoid taping, because it adds weight!
- Tie one end around one vertical spar, and the other end around the
other vertical spar. Slip the plastic under the bamboo and between the
keel knots, but as close as possible to the lower knot. A single Half Hitch
will do, since there are very low forces on the tail in flight. Pull it
fairly tight and trim off any excess plastic. See the photo for the
At this point, you've finished making the 1-Skewer Dopero!
To attach the flying line, just Lark's Head the flying line to the short bridle line.
How To Make A Dopero Kite - Flying!
Before the first flight, you need to adjust the bridle...
Firstly, make sure the sliding knots on the upper and lower bridle loops are dead-center. An easy way to check this is to see if the kite hangs level, when you dangle it from the loop knot at the end of the bridle. Adjust both knots until everything looks square and level.
Secondly, make sure that the sliding knot on the central bridle
line ends up between the upper horizontal spar and the top edge of the
sail. Check this when the kite is laying on its back on the floor or
table, with equal tension in all the bridle lines. Shift the knot if
necessary, and hold up the bridle lines again to check. Repeat until it
If it's very windy outside, stay home! This is a light-to-moderate wind kite and won't like being launched in a gale.
Assuming there is some breeze outside, just dangle the kite at
arm's length until the wind catches it. As long as you feel the kite
pulling, let out line slowly by taking loop after loop off the winder.
Another approach is to get a helper to hold the kite up and let
it go, on the end of maybe 10 or 20 meters (around 50 feet) of line.
This way, the kite soon gets high enough to make it easy to let more
The picture up there shows the very first version of the 1-Skewer Dopero
climbing away in a light breeze. The black plastic sail, yellow keels and clear plastic tail made a nice combination!
Have fun flying, and I hope you've enjoyed learning how to make a Dopero kite.
The "Making Skewer Kites" e-book
has this design and many others in bamboo skewers and plastic. A handy approach is to just print out the pages for the kite you want to make next. The e-book is also handy for working off-line on a laptop or other device.
That's great value already, but "The Big MBK Book Bundle" is even better! This includes the "Making Dowel Kites" compilation e-book, plus several other handy kiting e-books.
Now, just in case you have actually made and flown this kite at least once already...
Ever Made This Kite?
You've probably read a kite-flying story or 2 of mine, after they appear under the "what's new?" link on this site. I sometimes wonder if anyone else has made and flown this particular design...
If you feel your efforts really paid off when the the kite finally got airborne - please type a few paragraphs in here telling us all about it!
P.S. I can only accept stories of at least 300 words. Just mention a few details like the weather, onlookers, the kite's behavior and so on - 300 words is easy!
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